How many properties are the British buying in Spain as Brexit approaches?

The consequences of Brexit in Spain/ Flickr/Creative Commons
The consequences of Brexit in Spain/ Flickr/Creative Commons
23 October 2019, Redaction

The moment of truth is approaching for the highly controversial Brexit. The latest news points to an agreement between Brussels and London for a friendly exit for the UK from the EU. Countries have started to look at the repercussions this will bring. In Spain, the real estate sector is calm after APCE (Association of Developers Builders of Spain) provided data showing how little the British represent in total property transactions last year. 

Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, president of this employer, explains that last year the British acquired 8,500 units in Spain out of a total of 513,000 sales transactions that occurred in the period between April 2017 and April 2018, according to APCE data. Moreover, the association explains that before the referendum, sales were at 10,000 properties. Therefore, the confirmation of Brexit only meant a decrease of 1,500 properties

After studying the data, APCE considers that serious damage caused would be if the British didn't acquire any properties once the UK's exit is confirmed, but it is an "impossible" situation. The worst-case scenario depicts a 50% drop in sales to British citizens. A scenario that the real estate sector isn't worried about either because it would still be a very small percentage with regards to total operations. 

"Brexit will not be a sector problem, but a provincial one," said the former CEO of Via Celere during the APCE press conference to explain the future of the sector. The current president of the Via Agora group pointed out that it would be autonomous communities such as Valencia, the Balearic Islands or the Canary Islands that could suffer a greater impact with the departure of the UK from the EU.

In this not very alarming speech, APCE also highlights further data that shows the sector's optimism with regards to Brexit, this being the percentage of property purchases made by foreigners in the last fiscal year registered (April-April). This interval has increased by 0.8%. Specifically, it has gone from 15.8% to 16.6%, according to figures from the association. The growth took place in the same year that British transactions fell, hence the employers' optimism about Brexit.

Therefore, without going any further, the weight of the British has stood at 13.79%, marking historic lows and far from 37% in 2008. The French have also lost ground in recent years (7.5% of operations, compared to 10% in 2014), the Germans (with 6.89% are at their lowest since 2008) and the Italians (4.91% far from 5.77% in 2017). 

While buyers from the main economic powers of the Old Continent are losing steam, other nationalities such as Moroccans, Romanians, and Chinese are breaking records or approaching the highs they reached before the crisis. 

Moroccans, for example, accounted for 6.14% of operations in the first three months of the year, making them the fourth most active nationality in the purchase of properties in Spain. On the other hand, at the end of last year, they were in the eighth position. It is their best record since 2008, although in absolute numbers it is the best year since 2007. Throughout 2008 they bought 1,021 properties in Spain, a figure very similar to the first quarter of the current year. 

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